Ethnic Relations, Political Centralization and Territorial Control of China Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1819 Words
Date:  2022-10-19

For about 300 years ago, the history of China has been written to bear a unique and distinct characteristic throughout a series of successive dynasties. As a result of the intensive interactions that existed among the nations found in the East Asian Continents during the years, there have emerged a multi-ethnic political entity which is associated with huge populations and a unique culture-centered identity. The Chinese should be in a position to benefit from the globalization era as well as the somewhat complicated situation which prevails not only in the domestic but also international affairs when they view and guide the ethnic relations in the present generation. The main focus of this article is the discussion of the historical experiences of the traditions of the Chinese as they deal with the minor groups thereby summarizing the Chinese model of cultural diffusion and integration. Also discussed in this paper are the political centralization, territorial control as well as the ethnic relation policies.

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The beginning of the nineteenth century is a period marked with issues such as the being the very last time when the last dynasty of China was faced with the prevalent invasions by the foreign military as well as the possibility of the country collapsing (Ebery 56). During this time, the leaders of China found it essential to adopt the concepts of "nation state" as well the strategies used in the West in bringing the Reformation which could be significant in realizing the survival of the country. They borrowed the new political perceptions from both the newly born Soviet Russia and the European industrial countries.

Such strategies as the symbolic and appeasement dominance were not able to long conceal the short comes of the degrading regime of the Chinese during the late Qing Dynasty. The only option was the replacement by the strategies that were keyed to diplomatic balancing maneuver, collaboration, mostly tactical alliance as well as cooperation. The case was much right during the imperial relation of China with the nomadic and semi-nomadic entities alongside the Qing policies particularly from 1880 onwards towards the imperialist powers.

The factors of government policies and main social stream have played very critical roles in as much as the guidance to group identity, and adjustment of political entity boundaries is concerned. The basic ideas and the strategies that a country applies in the management of ethnic relations and guiding about the future trends are presented by the constitutions, laws as well as the regulative policies put in place. Following this significance, it is important to highlight that the government policies pertaining the ethnic affairs can be categorized into two major groups: the very first category emphasizes the racial and ethnic minorities viewing them as distinct political entities and thereby establishing a legislative framework which defines the position of each group. The emphasis of the second category lies on the distinguishing the various groups based on the culture and standards of civilization, and highlighting the existing differences in the social norms and moral ethics. Additionally, this category bases its argument on the assimilation or acculturation.

The present territory of China has for an extended period of several years been a home for many groups of people. One of these groups were the Song Chinese group who had lived in the fertile central plains (Ebery 65). This group has become very much advance in technology as well as cultural development. The Barbarians, on the other hand, resided on the grassland while other on the peripheries of the mountain and their lives were completely different from the former group. Their technology had not developed so much as well. With the emergence of the Confucianism, cultural achievements have played a critical role in distancing the Chinese tradition into civilized and barbarians. The distinction is in no way based on the differences in language, religions, customs nor physical differences but rather the differences existing in the behavior and social norms regulations. These sides of the civilized-barbarian distinction are freely transferable following the fact through being taught and learning; one can quickly determine the culture.

The Chinese tradition became successful in the transformation of the barbarians into civilized as well as the member of the other minority groups that have been recorded in the history and they eventually disappeared among the population of the Han in the recent past. The best example in this line is the group of the Jewish community which migrated into China in history, and up to date, their religion and language can still be traced in the Kaifeng City located along the Yellow River. This group is recorded to have vanished among the Han who never discriminated nor prejudge them. After practicing this tradition for about 3,000 years, the population of the Han has been reported to rapidly rise to hit 1.2 billion making China become a unified pluralist nation. Evidence extracted from the archeological and historical records shows a clear image of the process of assimilation which existed in China throughout the history in the thousands of years.

The group identification and the boundaries got a lot of support from the policies put in place by the government to favor the minorities in the various aspects such education, promotion of cadres, financial aids as well as the elements of language (Ebery 43). This is very evident when the influence of Marxist ideology is reduced among the people in addition to the case roles played by the Soviet Communist Party in the military forces as well as in administration are voluntarily prohibited by Gorbachov. The other policy that was implemented was the cutting off of the essential linkages, administrative and spirit existing between the central government and the republics. The USSR is also seen to fall apart following the adoption of Stalin's theory and strategy for about seven decades. The unity between the external and internal factors, the Soviet Union finally collapsed due to the systems put in place.

Through many decades, the history of China has been characterized with culturalism in the ethnic relations as well as the diffusion of the culture of the core groups residing in the peripheries, particularly in the mainstream of the government though all dynasties. It was not until the year the 1750s when the governance took a new direction. The Chinese were forced to seek support from USSR following the international circumstances such as the prevalent Korean War which resulted in forced isolation which had been enforced by the western nations. Through this support, despite lacking experience in administration and social management, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) won the war within three years.

The newly established government had a significant role to play in the putting the country in order and developing the whole social system in the broad area of up to 9.6 million square kilometers and to achieve this, the central government copied almost every aspect in the Soviet model ranging from education, economy, health care, armed political-administrative system - administration, revolutionary education, state-owned planning economy and the cultural systems (Ebery 12).

In the early 1750s, based on the model of USSR, the PRC government organized a national campaign which aimed at the recognition of the nationalities. Various interviews were conducted on the people by many scholars and government officers working in teams and who collected relevant materials and records (Ebery 32). The identification of the nationalities was based on the concept of Stalin of citizenship alongside some adjustment according to the local circumstances. The idea entailed four indispensable and critical elements ranging from ordinary language, economy, territory and collective identity that was based on the cultural heritage. The identification process involved artificial groupings which varied from place to place. After the recognition, the registration of all the Chinese by their nationality status which had been recorded in the prior personal identification and the official household registration followed.

All the ethnic minorities practiced the free area. It was mentioned in the Qing Policies that the People's Republic of China being a multi-nationality country, the regional autonomy had to be practiced in the areas which were dominated by the minority population. The establishment of these free areas gradually happened. The main aim of establishing this system was securing that the minority groups played a leading role and managing their affairs in the autonomous regions. The National Congress later passed the Autonomy Law of Minority Nationalities in which detailed guidelines were provided concerning the jurisdiction, administration, education, cultural and religious affairs as well as the local regulations which existed in the autonomous areas. The law later turned out to become one of the fundamental laws that were practiced in PRC.

Series of policies favoring the ethnic minorities have been designed and practiced by the government particularly on aspects such as economic, educational, and administrative and cultural development. The very first assistance is the financial aids that the government offers to these people every year. The government has also exempted the minorities from the planning programs. The policy states that the majority of the Song couples should have one child and several enforcement measures have been put in place to affect the implementation. Because in most of the rural area of China have not experienced the establishment of the social security system, the couples there would wish to at least have a son in supporting them at old age, and for this reason, they can get more than two children. Most of the Song people were, therefore, forced to change their nationality status following this favorable policy (Ebery 21).


In a nutshell, it can be deduced that the strategies that were put in place to "cultural" the ethnic minorities were very successful in the history of China. However, it is vital to recognize that the racial policies of China have taken a new direction. Despite the consistency of the differences among the ethnic minorities in the national identification, the present ethnic relations of China have become very cooperative. It is also suggested in the historical records that force has been frequently applied by the Chinese state against the foreign powers however much it followed a limited and pragmatic approach in the implementation of such effects. The application of force has specifically been witnessed in influencing, controlling and calming the strategic periphery of China besides doing so at a time it possessed relative superiority over its potential adversaries found in the boundary. The country was forced to adopt non-coercive methods which involved appeasement and passive defenses, and these had provided security for very long periods since they were unable to initiate the establishment of a physical superiority position over the periphery through military forces. From this perspective, it can be deduced that unambiguous military dominance was not necessary to the Chinese government throughout the history of China in keeping the security over the periphery.

Works Cited

Ebrey, Patricia B. "Confucianism and Family Rituals in Imperial China." 1991.

Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, ed. Chinese civilization: A sourcebook. Simon and Schuster, 2009.

Gernet, Jacques. A history of Chinese civilization. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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